California Man Builds, Lives in Tiny 'Pod' to Save on Rent

He pays $400 a month to live in a makeshift bedroom.

ByABC News
March 28, 2016, 2:44 PM

— -- One way to manage the high cost of living in expensive cities like San Francisco? Build a room that looks a little different than the average square: make it a "pod."

Peter Berkowitz, 25, told ABC News he will save hundreds of dollars a month by sleeping in a makeshift bedroom he constructed himself, set up in the living room of a three bedroom apartment he shares with friends.

"They've been very patient and I'm very thankful to have sane, mature and super nice roommates," Berkowitz said. "I think the general reaction is I'm the weird guy living in a box. That's the best summary."

"When I'm in here, it's not on my mind that I'm in this pod and it's so depressing," he added, with a laugh. "It's become very normal very quickly and it's not quirky to me. It's just a comfortable, cozy and thoughtfully-designed bedroom."

Berkowitz said he got the idea to build himself a pod to save money on rent and to satisfy his desire for a soundproof sleep solution.

"I've always known about Japanese capsule hotels and felt confident that I could build something and still have my own private space," he said. "I was thinking, if you could go to sleep and it be truly quiet--that was an idea that stuck in my head."

Prior to his building the pod, Berkowitz said he was paying just under $1,000 dollars to have his own bedroom in an Oakland, California apartment.

Now, he pays $400 a month to live in his 8 x 3.5 x 4.5 pod space, not including the $1,300 he spent for the materials he used to build it.

"You can definitely hang out in there," Berkowitz said. "It's an intimate space. The reason I thought I could make something I would like as much as any other bedroom is because the only things I do [in there] are read and use my computer."

Inside Berkowitz's pod is a twin-size bed with a backboard to sit up against, a desk that folds down from the wall, a place to store clothing and LED lights for nighttime reading. He said he plans on lining the outside of the pod with cork to increase the soundproofing, and building bookshelves on the outside.

"It sounds small, but I try and set up my spaces that are very comfortable for me," Berkowitz sad.

Like his three roommates, Berkowitz has access to common areas such as the living room TV, kitchen and restroom. "I'm a roommate in the apartment. I just happen to have a different bedroom. Same privileges."

Berkowitz has posted several photos of his pod on his personal website, since moving into the space two-and-a-half weeks ago. He said he's received a lot of comments.

"I've been getting a bunch of emails from people moving out and interested in building one," he said. "It's encouraging--a lot of positive feedback and a lot of people who want to figure out how to pay less rent."